Fabrico sparks Gators' wild comeback win over Griffins

Kyle Riviere
St. Amant's Angelo Fabrico (left) was able to score the Gators' game-winning goal, despite being contained much of the night by the Griffins' Alec Snell (right). Photo by Kyle Riviere.

For nearly 70 minutes, Dutchtown had St. Amant right where they wanted them on Friday night.

They were up 2-0, and Gator star player Angelo Fabrico (who had 31 goals coming into the contest) was frustrated and thrown off of his game by Dutchtown's Alec Snell.

Snell shadowed Fabrico all night, constantly exchanging words with the Brazilian exchange student and often getting him irritated over his physical play.

But Snell and Dutchtown found out that there's just so long you can contain Fabrico. In the final 10 minutes, he came alive for the Gators.

He dished out an assist that allowed St. Amant to tie the game with five minutes left. And in the waning moments, he scored on a penalty kick just outside the box that gave the Gators a scintillating 3-2 victory.

"I'm just proud of the guys. It seems like every time we play Dutchtown, they get up on us," St. Amant head coach Adrian Garcia said. "The guys just believe that there's going to be something that's going to happen, that somebody's going to make a play, and you could hear them. They were constantly upbeat and staying on each other."

The game was hyped as a heavyweight showdown between two top-five teams in the state vying for district superiority. It lived up to that billing.

The first half was short on scoring, but it wasn't lacking excitement.

Both teams went up and down the field and just missed out on scoring opportunities.

In the first 18 minutes, St. Amant goalkeeper Brendan David was forced to make two saves on shots from Zayne Zezulka.

On the other side, Christian Carrillo made two great saves at the 27th and 38th minutes.

The crossbar on the Dutchtown net made a save at 30. Fabrico peppered a shot on a line from nearly 30 yards out that was just inches too high.

The offenses finally came alive in the second half.

Five minutes in, the scoreless tie was broken when Sethan Ward scored on a header that gave Dutchtown a 1-0 lead.

Ward struck again five minutes later when he maneuvered through two Gator defenders and sent a shot past David to give the Griffins a 2-0 lead with just 21 minutes left to play.

Things were looking bleak for St. Amant, but with just 11 minutes to spare, Kade Jarreau finally got them on the board to cut the lead in half.

With the clock bleeding down to five minutes and the Gator offense desperate for a score, all eyes were on Fabrico.

He took advantage as he sent a beautiful pass across the field to an open Henry Ecker. Ecker finished at the net with a goal that tied the game.

It looked like the two teams were about to end in a draw for a third straight meeting.

However, with less than two minutes remaining, the speedy Tyler Bridgewater got the ball out front and raced toward the Griffin net. Before he could get off a shot, he was fouled.

This allowed Fabrico to take a penalty kick just outside of the box. He sent in a gorgeous shot that flung by a leaping Carrillo to give the Gators the 3-2 win.

"I knew if we could get one, we could make it close at the end," Garcia said. "When we got the second one, we didn't want the tie. They wanted the win, and that's what I'm proud of."

Garcia was thrilled with how Fabrico was able to weather his emotions late and come through when his team needed him the most.

"Their guy was in his hip pocket all night," Garcia said. "He did a great job, but Angelo stayed calm. We just needed one little spark to make a play, and he made it. It was great. I felt the momentum swinging in those last 10 minutes."

Both goalies were solid all night. David had seven saves, while Carrillo came up with six.

The loss was the first for Dutchtown since Nov. 21, and ended their 11-game winning streak.

It was the sixth straight victory for St. Amant as it improved their overall record to a superb 20-1-1. Most importantly, they are now just two wins away from winning their third straight district title.

"Any time you can beat a team like Dutchtown, I'll take that," Garcia said. "We hate losing. Now, we want to go finish and win the district championship."